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Time Amongst the Ancients

I will be traveling for 6 weeks as part of my sabbatical from Dogwood Alliance in New Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. You can follow my travels here.

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Location: Monterico, Guatemala

I couldn´t find anyone to travel with me to an isolated beach, so I took multiple buses to the Pacific coast town of Monterico and beside the mosquitos at night it has been wonderful. Tonight is my last night here and it has been both tranquil and fun. I have spent my days on the black volcanic sand beach swimming in the big waves and reading and found two Candians and an Icelander to talk with at night and play cards and a couple locals as well. Yesterday was my adventure day as I woke up before sunrise and took a pole boat tour of the mangrove swamps to see the sunrise, it was amazing and they have these cool four eyed fish similar to a mudskipper. And to top that, I got to release a baby turtle at sunset yesterday, holding it in my hands was one of the most amazing experinces in my life. I took video with my camera and hope it came out well. Today I will relax on the beach and then tomorrow afternoon I head off to Antigua for my last two nights before flying out early on Saturday to return to the US. Love to you all and I wish I could upload my photos but this internet is slow, so I will share with you when I get home! See you soon!

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Location: Xela, Guatemala

The full moon hike to the top of Santa Maria Volcano was grueling and exhausting but so so worth it! The climb was steep and over the 4.5 hour hike we gained over 2500 feet in elevation. Needless to say I was one of the last to reach the top. Atop the mountain we found shelter amongst the rocks to stay warm and then had a triple treat. First an amazing moonset, nearly full and glowing orangish yellow. Then the next volcano over, Santaguita did its clockwork 45 minute eruption spewing cloud and smoke which we were above to watch. And then came the sunrise, which is probably the best I have ever seen. Check out the pictures, they do not do it justice, but give you an idea. I had a hard time picking 12, so when I return I will have a lot more to share. I came back and slept and then headed with a friend from Ireland to a random town NW of Xela in the mountains to get our Mayan horoscope read, which was unfortunately cheezy and to check out Los Riscos which were small but interesting, again check out the pictures. The highlights of Momostenango were meeting the town loco and getting stuck in the middle of a procession celebrating the Virgin of Guadelupe and seeing them in their costumes that I am pretty sure were Xena Warrior princess. Today I am doing errands and trying to find someone to head to the beach with, if I do I will go to a quiet beach near the Mexico border and if not I will head to Monterico south of Guatemala City. Probably will only hope on the internet once more before my return in one week.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Location: Xela, Guatemala

It seems as though my heart has led me to the town of Quetzaltenango, known as Xela by the locals, in far western Guatemala. Darcel and I skipped here to head to Coban instead in order to make a full loop and because the weather is horrible in the Bay Islands of Honduras right now, I decided to backtrack and come visit Xela and I am glad that I did. It is a wonderful city, though it is second in size to only Guatemala City it has a small town feel and is very safe. I was planning to stay here only three days, but will probably now stay until Friday or so. I spent the first night hanging out with 8 new Peace Corps volunteers and then the following day explored the city including a Marimba concert on the square and an artesan market. On Monday, I travelled with 5 other backpackers to the sacred Mayan lake Chicabel, which was a difficult 5 kilometer ascent but well worth it. Yesterday, to relax, I went with 5 others to the most amazing hot springs nestled in the local mounains called Fuentes Georginas. Today I am catching up on errands like Laundry and bank and internet and tonight I am trekking with a group of 30 people to the top of the Volcan Santa Maria in the full moon and we will arrive to watch sunset from the top. It is supposed to have some amazing views including that of a nearby active volcano which erupts every 30 minutes. That means I will come back tomorrow afternoon and take a day of rest before I head out most likely to another mountain town called Nebaj. And I know my parents will appreciate this, last night I took a free Salsa class, I have zero skills. Love to you all!

Friday, 05 December 2008

Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala

Our adventure to the Copan Ruins was fabulous. It was a quiant, sweet town in Honduras and the statues at the ruins were the best I have seen of all of the Mayan sites I have been to. We spent three nights there and this morning took an early shuttle to Guatemala City as alas Darcel leaves for the States early tomorrow morning. My current plan is to remain in Guatemala and head to Quetzaltenango and further explore the western reaches of the country. I think I will eventually head back east and go to the Bay Islands in Honduras, but we shall see, for now, I am taking it one day at a time and will see where my heart leads me.

Wednesday, 03 December 2008

Location: Copan Ruinas, Honduras

Just a quick note to say that we are happy and well (actually Darcel has a stomache bug) and in the town of Copan Ruinas to visit the Mayan ruins of Copan just outside of Town. We are spending three nights here and will then head to Guatemala City on Friday so Darcel can catch a plane for the US on Saturday, here Central American adventure is coming to an end. I will return to Honduras for 10 or so days to visit a couple of colonial towns, national parks and chill at the beach. I´ll keep you posted here and as a side note, I found a great internet connection and just posted a ton of pictures.

Monday, 01 December 2008

Location: Livingston, Guatemala

We are in Livingston for the second day and tomorrow derpart early for the Copan Ruins in Honduras, it will be a long bus ride, but worth the effort from all that we have heard. Tikal was amazing, we saw greatwildlife and climbed five of the seven main temples. Walking all through the jungle to find each set. We then caught a bus to the town of Rio Dulce and spent the night at a cool little hotel in the jungle and had a relaxing evening. We then took an amazing boat tour from Rio Dulce to the Garifuna enclave of Livingston. We are staying at a hilarious hotel that was an old Moorish compund. We had some amazing experiences with the Garifuna people inmcluding one who lives in Wilmington and was here for a sad occasion. We decided to spend an extra day here and today we went to the Seven Altars waterfalls which were mostly dry and playa blanca a funny beach in the middle of nowhere. The ride back was quite rough yet adventurous. We will relax tonight and head off to the town of Copan Ruiñas in Honduras for Darcels last few days before she heads out from the Guatemala City airport. It has been quite an amazing adventure.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Location: Flores, Guatemala

We took the road less travelled and headed from Chichi by chicken buses and minibuses to Coban which took us from Chichi to Quiche to Sacapulas to Uspantan and across a mostly dirt road where our progress was halted for 30 minutes by a mudslide and finally arrived in Coban. It was a wonderful town where we relaxed, ate well, visited a coffee plantation and then took and amazing all day adventure to the waterfalls of Semuc Champey and the caves of Grutas Languin. Absoluitely incredible, words don´t describe it so check out the pictures. I will try and post the cave pictures soon but my current internet connection sucks. We are now in Flores and head off to the most amaizing Mayan ruins of Tikal and then onto Rio Dulce and Livingston. I will try to post again from there, but may not be able to until we head to the Copan ruins.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Location: Chichicastenango, Guatemala

We spent four wonderful nights on Lago Atitlan. The first night in the town of Panajachel and then we took a public ferry across the lake and spent 3 peaceful and relaxing nights in San Marcos de Laguna, mostly taking short hikes and swimming in the beautiful lake. We then caught three different "chicken buses" which are old bluebird school buses from the US and made our way to chichicastenango in the state of Quiche. It has the largest market in Guatemala and was very overwhelming. But we are staying at a cute guest house with a fireplace and tonight will have a fire and a bottle of wine before we head north deeper into the mountains to the village of Nebaj and eventually to the town of Coban for hiking and waterfalls and more. I will try and post again sometime from Coban.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Location: Panajachel, Guatemala

We are spending the night at a cute hotel in Panajachel on the shore of Lago Atitlan and headed out tomorrow morning across the lake by boat to San Marcos de Lagun which is supposed to be incredibly peaceful. We plan to spend three nights out there and may make a day trip or two to other villages. It is unlikely I will be back at a computer for the next few days.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Location: Antigua, Guatemala, Guatemala

We had a fun hike yesterday up to Volcan Pacaya an active volcano an hour outside Antigua. Darcel got to ride a horse. Today we head to Lago Atitlan and the town of Panachel, I will try to post pictures soon.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Location: Antigua, Guatemala, Guatemala

We arrived in Guatemala on Saturday and hopped a shared cab to Antigua where we have spent the last two days exploring the city and its churches and many nooks and crannies. This afternoon we headed to Vulcan Pacuna and tomorrow we head to Lake Atitlan.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA

It has been a time of great healing, hope and relaxation with one of my oldest and wisest friends in New Mexico. Today I hopefully released the rest of this cold with the help of tableside guacamole, lots of sleep, ancient chocolate, and an amazing massage. In four hours I leave for the airport and Guatemala where I will reunite with Darcel and begin the next stage of my journey. Until then... much love!

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA

It has been a wonderful week in Santa Fe spending time with an old friend and his amazing partner. Incredible scenery, including a nice hike in the snow dusted Santa Fe Canyon; incredible food including masala dosa at an indian restaurant and amazing green chile sauce at Pasquals; two yoga sessions led by an amazing teacher; and a trip to a Japanese bathhouse. Today we head off to the healing waters of Ojo Caliente, which will hopefully help me knock out this obnoxious cold I have which is really starting to get annoying. Tomorrow the plan is a hike at tent rock if we feel better (my friend is sick too) and then I head off to Albuquerque to fly to Guatemala early Saturday morning. Not sure if I have the mojo to post pictures, if I feel better tonight, I may try.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

Amazing night in a cabin in the woods in the Carson NF outside of Taos. Beautiful scenery amidst the trees and alongside a beautiful creek. Best part was the roaring pinyon pine fire that kept us warm at night and the companionship of two pretty amazing people. The drive both ways was stunning and was followed by a lazy day. Today it is snowing lightly but hopefully it will fade away as we are planning a hike later this morning. I took a few pictures, but will save uploading them until after the hike today.

Saturday, 08 November 2008

Location: Santa Fe, NM, USA

I arrived yesterday in New Mexico hear to visit an old friend and his amazing partner in Santa Fe. Travel was easy, rental car was hilarious and so far it has been peaceful and relaxing. Today we are off to the mountains for a hike and a night in a cabin to enjoy the solitude of the local mountains. I'll post some pics when I have them. Much love!

Thursday, 06 November 2008

Location: Asheville, NC, USA

Tomorrow, I head off on a six week adventure to New Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. I hope to keep this page regularly updated and so if you have any interest in finding where I am in the world, you can check here. Updates of course are dependent on finding internet cafes and time to write, so be patient and I will do my best. Love to you all and of course you can email me if you would like to be in touch.

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Recent Messages

From ScottJ
Dude! You saw a quetzal! That rocks. Senderos seguros.
Response: It was so beautiful! Xela was amazing too and all the surrounding villages were worth the exploration, thanks for the tip!
From Mom
Scot, your adventure justs keeps getting better and better. Glad you did try to take that salsa class, we'll work on it together when we see you at Christmas. Dad and I are still learning and just got back from our cruise with MaryAnn and Spence so am catching up with your pictures and stories. The pictures are just wonderful, and all the info that you have provided us as you've gone along has made your adventure OUR adventure too and that's great because I'll never take those hikes or climb those mountains but thanks for doing it for me too. Keep having fun and meeting new people and still having a new adventure each day. Can't wait til we can really talk face to face about it all. Take care of yourself, God bless you and we'll see you soon. Love you very much.
Love, Mom
Response: I can´t wait together and share all my stories and experiences, it has been a most excellent adventure! Love you very much!
From Dad
Mom and I are back from our journey. We learned some salsa on the trip, so we'll practice with you next week. Good fun dance. You have been so very fortunate to see some amazing sites. Glad you are fine and happy; look forward to hearing about this in person when family gets together again for Christmas.

Love, Dad
Response: Love you too and see you in a week!
From Jason G.
I'm glad you're having the experience you hoped you would have. You're getting into all sorts of adventures! Selfishly, though, we'll look forward to having you back too.
Response: Thanks, I am having an amazing adventure and glad to be here, but I as well will be glad to come home. I will only be in town for a day or two before I head to my sister´s for the holidays, but I will be back in town on the 26th or 27th and will still be off until like the 7th of January.
Scot! Sounds like you are having an amazing time... I love how you make friends wherever you go! Make the most of it--I miss you but are so so psyched to hear about your travels. Lotsa love from Eva & Dogwood...
Response: It has been a wonderful break and I promise I won´t be cranky when I get back! Miss you all and will see you in earlyish January!
From Pam
My soul travels with you my friend...sooo jealous! I'm in conny where its cold and snowing! Hope the journey continues to amaze and nurture you....LOVE YOU SCOOTER xoxo
Response: Love you too Pammy! When you coming to Asheville? Miss you and hope to see you soon! We have a really cozy guest bed and a sweet little house!
From Joan Skolimowski
Dear Scott,
I enjoyed reading about your adventure with Darcel. It sounds just lovely and with amazing sites.

I could only open the Santa Fe photos. The others would not come up for some reason. But maybe when you come back you can explain to me.

I wish you great inspiration and energy from ~Mother Earth is this amazing part of the world.
Response: Thanks Joan, I am sorry that they did not open, others told me they viewed them, so maybe try again? Mother Nature has been wonderful to me!
From Dad
Cool pictures; everything looks grand. You've been to some interesting spots where I don't believe the average traveler ventures to. Got lots to talk about Christmas.
Keep having fun

Love, DAD
Response: Thanks Dad, it really has been amazing! See you in a couple of weeks.
From Sundown Slim
Something terrible has happened while you've been gone. I lost my Sundown Slim hat and now i have no more powers!! Its been fun checking out your photos and seeing what adventures you've gotten into. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. Warms me up on a chilly Asheville night to see the beach and the monkeys! Safe travels, enjoy the rest of your trip!
Response: Thanks man... find that mojo, it was within you all along, the hat means nothing, you are amazing!
From Lisa
He cuz what an awesome trip you guys are on!!! The pics are amazing!!! I love the great outdoors and thought I was the only one who loves to take pics of he sky :) I hope you guys continue to have a wonderful time and I hope to see more pics soon. love you <3
Response: Thanks Lisa, it has been incredible! We really loved Guatemala and what we have seen of Honduras thus far bodes well for the rest of the trip! I just posted a ton more pics. Love ya!
From Mom
Hey Scot and Darcel, the adventures just keep getting better. It will be hard to top this trip after it's all over. Sent a note on Thanksgiving that must have ended up somewhere in cyberspace as it hasn't shown up on the travel-page. Just love the pictures and that one of you alone and the two of you are just great. Keep having fun and learning along the way.
Love ya!!
Response: Thanks mom, it has been a great experience and a really fun way to travel, half the adventure seems to be getting from place to place! Love you!
From Sandra
Great photos, love the one of you and Darcel above the semuc champey pools, definitely one to blow up and display at home. Gorgeous. Mudslide adventures and all... Looking forward to more! love you.
Response: It has been fabulous even in all of the anarchy, the internet connections have been crappy so I am holding off on postingmorepics until I find a better connection.
From Phyllis
I'm catching up on your travels. Beautiful pics. Sounds like you two are having a wonderful trip.
Take care.
Aunt Phyllis
Response: Thanks Aunt Phyllis it really has been fabulous, we are having awonderfultime.
From Sandra
Happy Thanksgiving!! Mom and Dad are here and I will soon be starting the cooking. Miss you. We'll raise a glass for you at the dinner table. Love you!
Response: Right back at you. hope you had an amazing time together and an amazing meal!
From Dad
Still sounding wonderful. I don't know if you're celebrating but you both have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we'll be thinking about you. Have fun. Love, Dad
Response: We definitely gave thanks today for being in an amazing place and for having an amazing family! Love to you all!
From danielle marie
hey, i think i took a photo of that same fisherman! funny, eh?

have fun in the mountains. prepare yourself for the altitude changes. i got carsick myself.

lots of love. . .
Response: The road from Chichi to Coban was insane, but I am so glad we did it! The scenery was amazing and we will be able to laugh about it and tell stories about it forever!
From Mom
Hey Scot just love the new pics. Looks like it's turning out to be the trip that you wanted so far. The views and the new sunset were just great! Keep being simi-careful and the two of you enjoy yourselves to the fullest.
Love, Mom
Response: Thanks mom, so far so good! Wait until you see the sunset pics from the lake... wow! tomorrow we are off deeper into the mountains for some hiking and wild bus rides. Should be in Nebaj first and then Coban. Love you!
From danielle marie
wow! i've loved reading everything so far. some trip, huh?

i hope you are deeply relaxing in san marcos. so many beauties you are beholding.

keep enjoying yourself and give mi madre a big squeeze!
Response: hugs back at you!
From Dad
Nice pics! Looks like you're having great experience; hope it was as expected and more
Response: we didn´t set any expectations excepty to have fun and explore and thus far it has been wondeful! tomorrow we head deeper into the mountains and then to Coban for waterfalls, caves and exploring the local organic agriculture which Darcel wants to see. Love you!
From Mom
Hope you got rid of that cold and met up with Darcel without a hitch. Have fun and some great adventures.
Such beautiful sunsets. I'd love to see them in person.
Love, Mom
Response: The intense hike almost knocked it out of me and Darcel found me right away. So far so good and wait until you see sunset pics from atop the volcano! Love you!
From Dad
Looks great so far. Hope cold abated and you get to enjoy the rest of your travels. Should help when you hit the tropics. Nice sunset pics; your mother is jealous. Stay well and have muchos fun.

Love, Dad
Response: Thanks Dad, I love you! We are having a wonderful time so far and tomorrow head out for three nights in San Marcos de Lagun on Lago Atitlan.
From Joy
Hey Scot! I found you. Thanks for the website again. Sounds like you are having the time of your life. That's wonderful. Two years ago I had the opportunity to see Santa Fe and enjoy some of the sights you have seen as well. Amazing country and the Taos is gorgeous. Hope you are feeling much better today. Much love, Joy
Response: I do feel much better, thank you and thanks for checking in! See you soon down the road!
From Phyllis
Have a safe and fruitful trip.
Aunt Phyllis
Response: Thanks! Really looking forward to it and so nice to get awhile. Much love to you and your family!
From Sandra
Let me be the first to wish you safe and fun travels!! Have a blast, mi hermano!
Response: Thanks sis... love ya!
From the Michelle Smith
This is great! Bon Voyage! Miss you.
love, hope, change, Michell
Response: Thank Michelle... much love and enjoy the office without me!